I’m surprised that the usually controversy-driven Philippine press did not establish the connection or at least make it explicitly clear: that Manny Pacquiao, the most popular and well-loved athlete in the Philippines and one of the most adored in the world, wants to ban condoms by making them illegal.

It took blogs in the US (as far as I know) to make that connection and expose Pacquiao for his foolish stand on condoms and contraceptives, specifically on the raging debate now on the Reproductive Health Bill pending now being deliberated in the Philippine Congress. It is a stand that I am convinced is nothing but political posturing by the neophyte – and callow – congressman.

What Pacquiao and his handlers in the conservative community, especially the Catholic Church, are doing is nothing short of murder. You ban condoms, you are effectively killing hundreds of Filipinos by making them highly vulnerable to HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Note that HIV infection in the Philippines, long neglected as being too low, has spiked recently, raising serious concerns.

“We’re alarmed over the sudden big increase of HIV infection cases since December 2009,” former health Esperanza Cabral said in March 2010. “At the rate we are going, in three years we are going to have more than 30,000 people with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines.”

Although I doubt very much that condoms will be banned in the Philippines – we’re not run by the Taliban, I’d like to think – Pacquiao campaigning against the prophylactic and against many forms of contraception in general is contributing to the erosion of public health and safety in the Philippines. Being a congressman and an official of the republic, this makes his behavior utterly contemptible.

It’s one thing to show opposition to a proposed law, it’s another to use that position to endanger the public.